As my five-year anniversary approached at SHIFT, it was time to consider what I was going to do with my four weeks’ paid sabbatical. It’s certainly a unique benefit and could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for some, and I was ready to plan an unforgettable month. I thought about a trip with my husband and toddler – Colorado, maybe? Rent a cozy cabin in Vermont? Europe? After a lot of thought, I ended up doing the most unexpected option: I stayed home and had no agenda.
Looking back, I wouldn’t change any of it. I took the month of December off and spent most of it with my sweet little boy, Finny (see above). It was the perfect time given the stress of the holidays and our new home, which I couldn’t wait to rejuvenate.
While it’s true I really didn’t have an agenda, I tried to structure my time off slightly (aren’t we all Type A?). Here are a few tips I followed for maximizing my “staybbatical.”
Make a To-Do List
Huh? But it’s a vacation! Correct, but it’s the perfect time to check off all those lurking tasks you never have time to do. Completing them will make you happy and feel productive, I promise. Begin your list before your time off and continually write down items as you think of them. For me, a lot of my list included new home projects. I painted my kitchen, bathroom and cabinets, furnished two rooms and replaced light fixtures. These simple refreshes completely changed the vibe and made my house a home. I also finished my holiday shopping and had my Christmas cards out by December 6! #winning
Reconnect with Your Peeps
I may have had four weeks off, but everyone else did not. Pro-tip: consider weekday dates. While a lot of my friends and family were working during the week, Finny and I booked our morning and afternoons with coffee and lunch dates. It was so energizing to see so many familiar faces all month long.
Try Something New
A few years ago, my friend made a commitment when she turned 29 to try something new every month. I luckily got to go along on most of those experiences, and I tried to take the same approach for my month off. For me, this was not riding elephants in Thailand (although that is really cool!). With a focus on Finn, we tried new places together. From a music class, to a trampoline park, to new restaurants, or sledding for the first time, it was so special to create new moments with him. None of these experiences required a passport and allowed us to find new adventures in our own backyard.
I know this is an obvious one and a tip you will find in every vacation blog post. But it’s true. The goal of a vacation is to disconnect and refresh your mind and body. When you send that last email, close up shop. Rely on your team members, put on your out-of-office message and shift your mindset to focus on yourself.
A million thank yous to my amazing team for having my back, and to SHIFT for offering a wicked awesome benefit. I am lucky to work with such an incredible group of humans!